Partner / Director Clémentine and Noise We have to work on our Lebanese touch and hone it. A HAIL OF DIFFICULTIES
This year we faced a hail of difficulties in Lebanon. We are facing increasing economic pressure, with the region boiling with ongoing conflicts impacting the very heart of the economies and of course our country is in the midst of all this mess. Companies are fighting to stay put and create value and ensure proper management of this “value”. It is not an easy time for the industry, as we are still experiencing the same hardships. Zooming in, the ad business is organically impacted by this overall market situation, and they’re both interlinked: when your economy is bad, you cannot expect a thriving marcom industry; big corporations are not doing well and that applies to SMES. Consequently, we are witnessing budget cuts (which are tremendous ones in some cases). In this case, the first expenditure that companies usually cut, is that related to advertising, thus presenting the first obstacle to the market’s growth. The major other factor hindering the business, has to do with the overall shape of the industry. The old school model of advertising based on creation, production and media, with the vast allocation of budget going to media (around 75%). With the forthcoming of the social and digital media that everybody is crazy about, we see further decline in spending within the traditional industry outlets. The business of advertising possesses though a national legacy. It has the capabilities to deliver due to the fact that Lebanon, and most importantly that the Lebanese advertising enjoys a special touch that equals the French touch to luxury. Thus we can always expect a robust rebound, anytime, and regain the trust of advertisers in the industry and the market as a whole.
The challenges we face currently are colossal. We have to work on our Lebanese touch and hone it. The ad community has to work hard to maintain the unique level of Lebanese creativity, to make it alive more than ever, because it’s the very core element that the industry reputation is built on, insuring ultimately the flow of dollars to agencies. Second, we have to cope with the general changes affecting the traditional scene, and adapt to the cut down in media budgets, and live with the new social and digital media reality. Third, we all experience difficulties in finding the right talent for our growing operations as the pool of good talents is increasingly getting smaller in the country. In the meantime, agencies should work on equipping their retained talents with modern skills to cope with new methods and tools through continuous training.